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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

"Think of the CHILDREN!": Christian group is wrong to demand end to Burger King Sith promo

Some people have way too much time on their hands. And I loathe them with a passion. A few years ago it was the bastitches at Center for Science in the Public Interest: the jerks responsible for making it impossible to ever again have real decent movie theater popcorn. I pray there's a special circle of Tartarus awaiting them for that.

Now it's some outfit called the Dove Foundation, who are honked-off that Burger King is doing a tie-in with Star Wars Episode III: Attack of the Clones because of its (gasp!) PG-13 rating. Here's the story from USA Today via Yahoo!, following which I'll explain why groups like the Dove Foundation are hypocrites giving the rest of us Christians a bad rep:

Group asks Burger King to halt 'Star Wars' deal

By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY Tue May 24, 6:21 AM ET

The Force may - or may not - be with Burger King's latest Star Wars-themed Kids Meals.

One day after a record-shattering weekend for Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, an advocacy group is asking Burger King to stop the tie-in of its Kids Meals with the film because it is rated PG-13.

The same group, Dove Foundation, got McDonald's 13 years ago to apologize for "confusion" from its promotion of PG-13 Batman Returns with Happy Meals. Now, it's going after BK's latest Kids Meal promotion - targeted at kids ages 4 to 9. The meals feature characters from Sith or other Star Wars films.

"When Burger King puts that in a Kids Meal, there's an implicit endorsement of the movie," says Dick Rolfe, chairman of Dove Foundation.

This is no small matter. Product licensing and promotion is a $100 million annual business. Since the first Star Wars was released in 1977, the six films have racked up almost $9 billion in merchandise sales and product promotions.

For Burger King, the stakes are huge. The No. 2 burger chain is in the 16th month of a major rebound. The Star Wars promotion, dubbed "Choose Your Destiny," is the 50-year-old chain's first global promotion.

Burger King officials insist the promotion isn't specific to the latest film (the others are rated PG), but one that relates to the chain's long-term relationship with the Star Wars franchise. Executives point out that only four of the 31 Kids Meal toys are specific to Sith.

The toys "clearly celebrate not just one film but the entire Star Wars saga," says Edna Johnson, a Burger King spokeswoman. "The reception at our restaurants and from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive."

But Rolfe says "the tie-in is very specific to this film." Wrappers around Kids Meal toys all promote Sith, he notes.

Dove Foundation, a non-sectarian family advocacy group, sent an overnight letter to Burger King last Thursday requesting the promotion be stopped. It also conducted a national phone survey of 889 adults and says 83% felt the promotion was not appropriate for kids.

Another critic says the fault isn't that of Burger King but Star Wars creator George Lucas. "It's irresponsible of George Lucas to OK the marketing around this PG-13 movie to young children," says Susan Linn, a Harvard psychologist and author of Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood.

"Star Wars is broader than a single movie," says Lynn Fox, a LucasFilm spokeswoman. "Parents know that Star Wars has been a positive influence."

Now, I want to pose the question: ever notice that people like the ones at the Dove Foundation never seem to be on the radar screen, UNLESS there is something in the public consciousness that they feel a compelling reason to come out and attack? I bet most people had never even heard of the Dove Foundation until Revenge of the Sith and this promo with Burger King. But as soon as Sith started smelling like box-office bonanza, the Doves fly out and start squawking in shrill voices for their share of the attention.

These are the same Christians that make such a big deal about the Harry Potter books and movies. And I'm going to tell you a lil' secret: this faction of Christians is secretly thankful that there are such things like Star Wars and Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings in this world. Because without them they wouldn't have a justifiable excuse - in their minds anyway - to outwardly express hatred toward something.

Christianity is supposed to be a faith that puts to death the things of the flesh... but these are Christians that are still enslaved to the meaner things of our earthly existence. Namely, the lust to hate and seek to destroy someone else. Ever heard of a guy named David Cloud? He's one of the more proud, arrogant and downright nasty Christians posting on the Internet. Sadly he's also one of the most cited by "fundamentalists". A few years ago he attacked J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings in a slanderous and hate-filled diatribe that could be considered nothing less than brazenly evil. What ya wanna bet that had there been no Lord of the Rings movie trilogy that he would have kept his mouth shut on the whole thing? Last year he came out and attacked Mel Gibson for his The Passion of the Christ, doing it so many times that he dedicated an entire section of his website toward cataloguing his mad rants at Gibson. I wonder if he'll do a hit-piece on the Star Wars saga now that some other Christians have turned it into a target.

Remember Dungeons and Dragons? The exact same kind of gameplay happens today a lot more than it did 20 years ago: it's just become computerized instead of resting entirely in the players' imaginations. If Dungeons and Dragons was really as satanic as some Christian groups were claiming it was, then there should covens of witches and warlocks operating in broad daylight all over the place, and more today than there were then. That obviously isn't the case. The fact of the matter is, Dungeons and Dragons was never an "evil" game. But it had to be perceived to be evil by some bunch of busybodies so they could be confident in showing everyone else just how capable and justifiable they were in hating something or someone else. About ten years later this same band of oddballs tried to ruin Magic: The Gathering, which I never played but saw enough of it to know that it was about as dangerous as a deck of Garbage Pail cards.

And so, it has been Harry Potter, and today it is Star Wars, and tomorrow after Revenge of the Sith has gone into second-run theaters and DVD release the same band of the bitter righteous will be girding-up to hate Harry Potter again when his next movie comes out. And they won't even think for themselves why it is that they hate the stories so. All they are concerned with is that they are told that they should hate... and that is more than enough.

Back to the Dove Foundation: I found their website and sure enough there's a review of Revenge of the Sith. To their credit they give Sith a passing enough grade that it could be recommended as family viewing, bearing in mind the violence. It ends the review with a statement that "Burger King is making a mistake by marketing this PG-13 Star Wars film in their Kids Meals". There's where Dove Foundation has jumped the tracks and gone loco: it sees the PG-13 rating and feels that is judgement enough against a movie to condemn it somehow. Sadly a lot of other Christians do the same: the first thing they look for in a movie is its rating, and if it's anything over a PG (and I know some that won't even go to anything over a G rating) then it automatically is stricken-down as verboten and branded a material act of Satan on Earth.

Now, stop and think about that: Christians condemning a movie solely because of its rating. A rating that was not affixed to said movie with Christian priorities in mind at all! These Christians are letting the world make a judgement for them that they are too lazy to use the brains that God gave them to think and judge for themselves. Instead they let the world think for them.

THAT is why the Dove Foundation is acting so stupid in trying to talk Burger King out of its promo with Episode III. They have to put on a show so that other Christians will be entertained by the gesture, enough so that they don't have to think on their own. Dove Foundation wants to be Christians thinking for other Christians. Hence, the Dove Foundation is a very functional part of the world that it claims it is trying to be apart from.

I wonder how many Christians really, truthfully, would be ready to be separate from this world, knowing how much power and affluence they would be forced to lose from it. The truth of the matter is these people DO NOT WANT to be separate from the world. They only want to believe that they can control it.

Fools. Every single damned one of them. Fools.

On a related note, I think Burger King's tie-in campaign is one of the more entertaining ones in many years. I'm enjoying the commercials and other stuff it's coming up with at least... though I gotta admit that their SithSense.com website is positively creeping me out.